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August 29, 2014 / 3 Elul, 5774
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Loving Israel as a Christian, The Blessings and Curses (Guest Tommy Waller)
 
Updates from Kuneitra, Syria [video]

August 29, 2014 - 4:14 PM
 
Joan Rivers in Critical Condition

August 29, 2014 - 1:08 PM
 
Soldier Dies from Wounds in Rocket Attack

August 29, 2014 - 12:33 PM
 
A Grand Total of 50 Muslims in Michigan Condemn ISIS

August 29, 2014 - 12:23 PM
 
Funeral Begins from Lakewood Yeshiva Student Aaron Sofer

August 29, 2014 - 11:48 AM
 
Dutch Pension Fund Rejects BDS

August 29, 2014 - 10:37 AM
 
Al Qaeda and ISIS are Israel’s New Northern Neighbors

August 29, 2014 - 9:38 AM
 
Netanyahu Meets with House Armed Services Members

August 28, 2014 - 11:49 PM
 
Mashaal Vows Cease-Fire a Step to New ‘Resistance’ War against Israel

August 28, 2014 - 11:00 PM
 
ISIS Slaughters 450 Captured Syrian Soldiers Since Wednesday

August 28, 2014 - 8:37 PM
 
Update: Lakewood Confirms Sofer’s Body Was Found in Jerusalem Hills

August 28, 2014 - 8:31 PM
 
Comedian Joan Rivers in Critical Condition

August 28, 2014 - 8:09 PM
 
Run Away… Run Away… [photos]

August 28, 2014 - 7:28 PM
 
Echoing Cease-fire, Britain’s Jews and Muslims Call for Peace

August 28, 2014 - 6:56 PM
 
27 Israelis Arrested for Drug & Weapons Trafficking, Helping Hezbollah

August 28, 2014 - 6:38 PM
 
Israeli Arabs Arrested for Lebanon Ties

August 28, 2014 - 3:39 PM
 
Erdoğan Sworn in as Turkish President

August 28, 2014 - 3:26 PM
 
IDF Fires Warning Shots Near Gaza Fence

August 28, 2014 - 2:51 PM
 
Shaath: US Pressured Israel to Drop Demilitarization Demand

August 28, 2014 - 2:49 PM
 
PLO Calls for War Crimes Investigations

August 28, 2014 - 2:39 PM
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Parsha
Leff-122812
 

Posted on: December 27th, 2012

JudaismParsha

Parshas VaYechi describes the last days of Yaakov Avinu’s life and it is therefore appropriate that the haftorah is a description of the last days of Dovid HaMelech’s life (the beginning of Sefer Melochim). But is that the only association? The last days of someone’s life? If so, there are other examples of the last days of someone’s life in Navi that could have been chosen. There must be deeper connections between the lives of Yaakov and Dovid.

The-Shmuz
 

Posted on: December 27th, 2012

JudaismParsha

This week’s parshah opens up with the statement “Vayechi Yaakov b’eretz Mitzrayim shevah esreh shanah – “And Yaakov lived in Egypt for seventeen years.” The Bal HaTurim explains that the gematria of vayichi (lived) is seventeen. The Torah is telling us that the life of Yaakov was seventeen years. Up until that point, he had suffered so much that his years couldn’t rightfully be called a life. The sum total of the years that he spent without torment was the seventeen years that he lived in Mitzraim. That was his life.

Parsha-Perspectives-logo
 

Posted on: December 26th, 2012

JudaismParsha

In this week’s parshah Yosef brings his two sons to his father Yaakov to receive blessings before his death. Rashi tells us that when Yaakov was about to bless Yosef’s sons the shechinah left him as a result of some of Yosef’s sons’ evil descendants.

YU-122112
 

Posted on: December 20th, 2012

JudaismParsha

Yosef Hatzaddik is not only the central character at the end of Chumash Bereishis. I believe that Yosef is also the character who best serves as a role model for many in today’s world.

The-Shmuz
 

Posted on: December 19th, 2012

JudaismParsha

For 22 years Yaakov Avinu was in a state of mourning. His beloved son, the one who most closely followed in his ways, the one he envisioned as the leader of the next generation, had been taken from him while still a youth. For all those years Yaakov was inconsolable. Now the brothers came back with the news, “Yosef is still alive!” At first Yaakov could not believe it. The brothers convinced him it was true by showing him the wagons Yosef had sent.

Parsha-Perspectives-logo
 

Posted on: December 19th, 2012

JudaismParsha

In the beginning of this week’s parshah Yehudah tells Yosef that he must allow Binyamin to return to his father because Yehudah had guaranteed Binyamin’s return. As the pasuk says: “ki avdecha arav es hanar… – for your servant has guaranteed the boy…” (Bereishis 44:32; see also 43:9).

The-Shmuz
 

Posted on: December 14th, 2012

JudaismParsha

Pharaoh had a dream. First, seven “good” cows came out of the Nile. Then seven “bad” cows came up and consumed the first cows. When he awoke in the morning, he called for Yosef to interpret the dream. Yosef explained the seven “good cows” represented seven years of plenty that would be followed by seven years of famine.

Torah-Anytime-logo
 

Posted on: December 13th, 2012

JudaismHolidays

A congregant once told me that he was spending a large amount of time trying to explain Judaism to a coworker. His colleague thought that all Jewish holidays had the same theme, and he proudly summarized this theme at his family's two-minute Seder: "They tried to kill us, Hashem saved us, we won, now let's eat!!" He proudly bragged that this sentence was the family's personal, abbreviated Haggadah.

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Posted on: December 12th, 2012

JudaismParsha

There are two mitzvos that the rabbanan instituted for Chanukah, lighting candles and saying Hallel. The Gemara in Shabbos 23a says that women are obligated in the mitzvah of lighting candles because af ha’eim hayu b’osah haness – they too were involved in the miracle.

Hertzberg-120712-seal
 

Posted on: December 6th, 2012

JudaismParsha

Most people remember where they were when they heard the news that Osama Bin Laden had been killed and justice delivered. Many books have already been written about the ten-year search for him, the decision to launch the mission and the actual attack on his compound in Abbottabad. While every aspect of this story is fascinating, I would like to focus on one specific area: Why were the Navy SEALs chosen to execute the mission? When the mission was being planned it was hardly a done deal that the SEALs would be selected as opposed to the CIA’s own paramilitary unit.[1]

The-Shmuz
 

Posted on: December 6th, 2012

JudaismParsha

At the age of seventeen, Yosef was wise in the ways of the Torah and in the ways of the world. He was called a “ben zikunim” because even at such a young age he showed the brilliance of an elder scholar. He had already absorbed all the Torah Yaakov had learned in the many years he had spent in the yeshiva of Shem.

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo
 

Posted on: December 5th, 2012

JudaismParsha

The Jews living outside Eretz Yisrael began reciting vesein tal u’matar in the Shemoneh Esrei this week. If one does not say vesein tal u’matar (instead continuing to say “vesein berachah”) and finishes the Shemoneh Esrei, he must repeat the Shemoneh Esrei. If one accidentally does not daven at all, he must daven two Shemoneh Esreis during the following tefillah. If one did not say vesein tal u’matar and finished davening and only remembers this fact at the time of the next tefillah, he must daven two Shemoneh Esreis at the next tefillah.

1
 

Posted on: December 5th, 2012

JudaismParsha

The deception has taken place. Joseph has been sold into slavery. His brothers have dipped his coat in blood. They bring it back to their father, saying: “Look what we have found. Do you recognize it? Is this your son’s robe or not?” Jacob recognized it and replied, “It is my son’s robe. A wild beast has devoured him. Joseph has been torn to pieces.”

Leff-113012
 

Posted on: November 30th, 2012

JudaismParsha

I always wonder about Jewish names. Some make it and some don’t. Some have mazel and others don’t. Some Biblical personalities’ names are very popular amongst the members of Klal Yisrael and then there are those personalities whose names never seem to be used.

The-Shmuz
 

Posted on: November 30th, 2012

JudaismParsha

Yaakov Avinu received word that his brother Eisav was coming to greet him. He understood fully well that this was not to be a warm family reunion. Eisav came accompanied by a band of four hundred armed men, bent on revenge. The Torah describes Yaakov as “very frightened,” so he prepared for war.

 

Posted on: November 29th, 2012

JudaismParsha

At the beginning of this week’s parshah Yaakov sent a message to Eisav. In the message were the words, “im Lavan garti – I lived with Lavan.” Rashi explains that Yaakov was informing Eisav that he had kept the entire Torah, as the word “garti” is the same numerical value as the amount of mitzvos in the Torah: 613. The following strong question concerning this statement has been discussed by the Rishonim and Acharonim: How could Yaakov say that he kept the entire Torah when he married two sisters, Rachel and Leah, which is biblically prohibited? Additionally, the Gemara in Yuma 28 says that Avraham Avinu kept the Torah; presumably the other avos did as well. How then did Yaakov marry two sisters?

 

Posted on: November 28th, 2012

JudaismParsha

Jacob and Esau are about to meet again after a separation of 22 years. It is a fraught encounter. Once, Esau had sworn to kill Jacob as revenge for what he saw as the theft of his blessing. Will he do so now, or has time healed the wound? Jacob sends messengers to let his brother know he is coming. They return, saying that Esau is coming to meet Jacob with a force of 400 men. We then read: “Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed” (Genesis 32:8).

The-Shmuz
 

Posted on: November 22nd, 2012

JudaismParsha

When Yaakov met Rachel at the well, he experienced conflicting emotions. He felt tremendous joy at having finally met his bashert, yet he raised his voice and cried. Rashi explains that he cried because he came empty-handed. He said, “My father’s servant came with ten camels laden with gifts and finery, and I come with empty hands.”

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo
 

Posted on: November 22nd, 2012

JudaismParsha

The Rambam writes in the 10th perek of Hilchos Ishus (halacha 13-14) that if a man marries a woman, he is obligated to have sheva berachos for seven days. If one marries several women at once, he must have separate sheva berachos for each one for seven days – consecutively. The reason for this is because we cannot mix one simcha with another simcha.

1
Hertzberg-111612-Texting
 

Posted on: November 15th, 2012

JudaismParsha

The theme of my column is leadership. As a general rule I avoid extrapolating leadership lessons from current events. The following is my reasoning. First, the information available from current events is often incomplete and inaccurate. Even when the information is relatively complete and accurate it is unanalyzed. Therefore the basis for lessons learned may prove to be faulty. Second, current events are often too current. To attempt to draw practical lessons in a dispassionate way would be insensitive.

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